Abu Dhabi


New York

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Greece Starts to Move Island Migrants to Mainland


7Dnews London

Mon, 02 Sep 2019 16:25 GMT

Greek government and United Nations’ workers started evacuating the first group of migrants from Greek island camps, on Monday September 2nd, due to overcrowding and unbearable living conditions, reported AFP.

The first group, comprising about 635 Afghans, were transferred by police buses from Moria camp to the north of Greece.

"I hope to get out of this hell quickly," 21-year-old Mohamed Akberi, who arrived at the camp five days earlier, told AFP.

Greece previously decided to transfer all the immigrants locked in its island camps to the mainland in order to speed up their deportation process.

Another 700 migrants will be transferred later on Monday as the government prioritise minors without parents and vulnerable people.

The Greek government has also decided to increase its border patrols in cooperation with the European Union and police patrols inside the Greek cities after a surge in the arrival of migrant boats coming from neighbouring Turkey.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said that the island of Lesbos, where hundreds of migrants were transferred from on Monday, sheltered nearly 11,000 people by the end of August.

The Greek islands received more than 3,000 people in August alone.

The unprecedented surge in arrivals peaked on Thursday when 13 boats carrying 540 people simultaneously arrived in the Greek islands. The Greek government was alarmed and called for an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Fahimeh Nourmohammadi told AFP how she, her husband and two sons had fled Iran to escape religious radicals there. However, she said that she did not feel safe in the Moira camp, on Lesbos. "A few days ago, a young adolescent was stabbed in the camp," she said.

She wants to get her children, 12 and 16, back in school. She added, "At Moria, my children don't go to school, they are bored and at night they are scared."

"We came all this way so they could have a future, so they could live in a democracy, and not for them to be in an unsanitary camp," she added.

Migrants at the Moria camp have suffered from sub-standard hygiene conditions and lack of tents to shelter the new arrivals.